By now it shouldn't be any secret that I adore the 4th of July. I was destined for the role as a Marine's wife. After one facebook status post a friend of mine who is also a Marine's wife told me I was the proudest Marine wife she knew. I'll gladly accept that. I Love my Marine. I'm proud of his role in our nation's story and the role his fellow Marine brothers have had-now and in the past. I'm proud of every veteran's role in our nation's story.
*I wrote this first paragraph and have attempted to come back to this post several times this past month, but have been unable to gather my thoughts about my 4th this year. I'm finally coming back to it and am determined to finish this post.
A few weeks before the 4th I heard Toby Keith's song "Made in America" driving home from work late one night. I loved it! I was hooked the minute I heard the line "Semper Fi tattoed on his left arm" and then it got even better when I heard about the old man's wife who "teaches school and decorates for the 4th of July, but says every day is Independence Day." Bivins has Semper Fi tattoed on his left arm...and we know I taught school and adore the 4th of July. I also cried watching the official video to the song. I love the pictures of the families celebrating the 4th of July and their family. Proud doesn't even come close to describing it.
Every year I anxiously count down to the 4th of July. The past two years I have been able to be off from work. I'll work every other holiday throughout the year, just don't make me work the 4th. Seriously. On the 3rd of July Dave and I spent the day together...we ended the day by stopping by the fireworks super store picking out what pretty fireworks we would set off at the house. This is a recent tradition. The first time we set off fireworks was in Jacksonville, NC with the boys a week or so prior to their deployment. Last year we bought a few more fireworks and set them off in the back yard. This year Bivins was the master of our fireworks show. The Sharp family, Tilly, and I gathered at the end of their sidewalk to watch the master at work. It was a wonderful show. A little scary at times because I thought that some of the fireworks were going to come back and hit the spectators, but still great. A thunderstorm came rolling in so we had to have our grand finale a bit before we used up all of the fireworks, yet it was fun. Fun, fun, fun. I went to bed a happy girl.
I woke up very early on the 4th of July because the kitchen demo team, Bivns and Mr. B, began tearing out the lower cabinets at 7:30am. Ewww. A month later I can say the kitchen is looking great, but that morning I was a lil' grumpy about being awake. They worked on putting in the new cabinets until about 3pm. Then it was time to get ready for the fireworks show at American Village. Then in rolled another thunderstorm. I began texting Tilly and Crissy to find out how things were going at American Village because we didn't want to drive an hour just to find out the show was canceled. Matt came over so he could go with us. He was feeling a little bit reluctant about going, but I really didn't give him a choice. He MUST go celebrate my favorite holiday with us. They say the show is still on, so we pile into the car and off we go.
Nothing makes me happier than an adventure with my boys, but an adventure on the 4th of July was fabulous. We arrived at American Village to find out the rain had stopped and admission was free because of the bad weather!! Wooohooo! (Admission is normally free for veterans and $5 for everyone else.) We met up with the Sharps, Postons, and Lowery's so we could scout out our viewing location on the green. We set up our chairs and then Bivins, Matt and I were off to explore the grounds until closer to fireworks time. There was a moment in walking the grounds that I was teensy bit worried, they shot off a cannon and the boys weren't prepared for it. When it went off I immediately turned and looked at the boys to see if they were going to be ok. We continued walking and their heart rates returned to normal and their muscles relaxed. We had a great discussion during our walk as well. We discussed the fact that coming home from the military is hard to do. You go from being in a place where everyone understands you to a place where sometimes people fear you. The same people you fought so hard to protect. Matt said something about being just another grain of sand on the beach, and Dave said something about not being sand, but being a shell tossed around in the ocean, and I said something about there being people like me that scour the sand and pick up shells to collect. I truly cherish all of my boys. I respect them. I'm proud of them. We were still walking around when one of my favorite parts of the American Village program began. First, they presented the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance is said, and the National Anthem is sung. I wanted to smack some adults and children for their lack of respect during this portion of the program. I restrained myself and watched my Marine and our soldier friend do the same. Then the Montevallo Community Band plays a Salute to America's Military Veterans and during each service's song those military veterans present are supposed to stand and be recognized. This year I was blessed to stand between a soldier and a Marine during this tradition. Then there was another song, "Duty, Honor, Country" which again made me proud that I was standing between a soldier and a Marine. One of my favorite lines from this song is "the American man at arms above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war" and those lines are followed by the first few notes of Taps. My teary eyes looked from soldier to Marine and back again. Their posture changed and I knew their minds were lost in memories. Shortly after that song we walked back to our seats and began to wait for darkness to creep in so the fireworks show could begin. It was a lovely show indeed. I was fascinated by the lovely colors. There was one particular firework that looked like a container of glitter just exploded in the sky. Delightful! Both of my boys seemed to enjoy the show. There were a few tough moments, but we had so much fun. I'm proud of my boys and I'll shout it from the rooftops if needed. Although, did you know my family is rather accident prone and I probably shouldn't try to get on a roof?
We drove home after the show and I played with some sparklers in the driveway. Bivins took some pictures, but because of the rain and hunidity they were really smoky and hard to see. This picture made me laugh though...
I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July. I hope you remembered the cost of freedom during your celebration, because our country began with a bloody battle for Independence and we've been battling for it ever since. Not all battle wounds are visible to the eye...